Experts at the global investors meet, ASCEND 2020 Kerala, stressed the need for the country to embrace Industry 4.0 and digital technologies at the earliest so as to lap up investment opportunities and compete with other emerging nations. “We have to look at Industry 4.0 through a broader lens,” they noted.

They also exuded confidence that Kerala can be the torch-bearer in the efforts owing to its rich engineering talent pool and resources.

While speaking at a plenary session on “Industry 4.0 – Trends and Impact for Future,” on the final day of the two-day meet, organized by the State’s Department of Industries at the Lulu Bolgatty International Convention Centre in Kochi, Sushant Rabra, Partner—Digital, KPMG, India, said that globally, industry 4.0 and digital technologies are being adopted across sectors like manufacturing, transportation, energy and telecom.

“These sectors are the leaders in Industry 4.0 adoption. Almost 60 per cent of the total economic value added is expected to come from these sectors. Based on certain estimates, it’s said that by 2025, Industry 4.0 and digital technologies will add US$1.5 trillion worth of value to the global economy,” Rabra said.  

Citing the case of Germany’s Mittelstand, where a cluster of mid-sized firms are functioning, he said these companies are the leaders in what they do. “The German government is actively promoting the sector. They contribute almost 40 per cent of Germany’s GDP. The German government set up an Industry 4.0 forum in 2013, and they worked with educational institutions to ensure that enough talent was available in digital technology,” he explained.

Rabra said it’s heartening to see that industrial bodies are responding to it as the need of the hour.  “The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has set up a Centre for Digital Transformation for small and medium-sized businesses to assist them in their digital journey.”  

“This transformation can be done not in isolation. Academia has a role in it where they can facilitate research and development activities on the topic. Ensuring the right talent pool in the ecosystem is vital now,” he said.

Rabra added that for the adoption of Industry 4.0 in India, the government can act as a facilitator while the industry bodies can function as enablers by bringing together all stake holders.      

In his address, Dr Suresh Nair, CTO, NeST Group, said there was no option but to adopt Industry 4.0 since it’s beneficial in all aspects like quality, cost, delivery and safety.

Commenting on Kerala’s perspective on the subject, Nair said: “It will give more opportunities for startups, and hardware and software borders will merge. Kerala’s strengths are engineering talent and resources. The attrition rate is as low as 2-3 per cent in the State, where English speaking efficiency and literacy up to technician level are the highest.” He said strong laws on intellectual property rights and adherence to human rights are the favourable factors in Kerala.

“With the advent of Industry 4.0, the capabilities of companies, and departments will become much more cohesive and enable truly automated value chains. Besides, companies, suppliers and customers are rarely closely linked with it,” Nair added.

Derick Jose, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist, Flutura Decision Sciences and Analytics, said the digital technology future will see the emergence of four types of startups– robotic startups, autonomous vehicle startups, sensor artificial intelligence (AI) startups and space intelligence startups.

By Manoj

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